Prototype School Program
New York, NY
In the late 80’s, New York City’s public school infrastructure was reeling after years of neglect. The system was short over 100,000 seats and students were crammed into overcrowded classrooms in unhealthy buildings. One of the solutions considered to expedite construction was to employ standardized prototypes. With few if any sites large enough to accommodate standardized prototypes left in New York City, the City’s Schools Construction Authority realized that a more innovative approach was needed. The prototype design featured here can be translated into a series of pre-designed “modules” which include a classroom module, administration module, special education module, and student commons module that consists of a gymnasium, cafeteria, and auditorium.
EE&K’s systems approach allowed the SCA to build the new schools quickly and at predictable costs while responding to educational needs and to the constraints of small-scale sites in urban neighborhoods. At an urban scale, the system features five different building blocks that contain all of the programmed spaces for the school. The blocks can be configured in a variety of ways to respond to different contexts and site conditions. Individual classrooms were given maximum flexibility for learning and interaction. At the buildings scale, EE&K designed a vocabulary of precast concrete façade components to give each elevation a sense of scale and articulation. The facades establish a civic scale and presence for each school in its respective communities.